A fitness blogger (wait, isn’t that an oxymoron?) has called for the inclusion of a warning label on video games. In a review of Wii Fit, Winston Salem Fitness pointed out several inaccuracies and flaws in Wii Fit’s text, including the fact that the BMI scale (Body Mass Index) isn’t necessarily related to one’s health, and pointing out that some exercises recommended by the game are regarded as a bad idea by the vast majority of “fitness professionals.”
The post ends with this suggestion:
Overall, I give Nintendo credit for trying to make a game that tries to get people to be more active, which is more than can be said for other video game manufacturers. However, this will not do anything in terms of chipping away at the American obesity problem.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the video game industry needs to follow the route of the tobacco and alcohol manufacturers, and state that excessive use of their product could lead to inactivity and obesity, rather than try to make a half-hearted effort at increasing American activity levels...
First off, the tobacco industry was forced by the government to label cigarettes; they didn’t choose to. But applying the same logic to video games doesn’t make sense any way you look at it. Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease directly (as well as making you look cool) where video games don’t cause any health problems directly (and also don’t make you look cool). Finding an exact causal relationship between playing games and health issues is impossible.Sure, gamers may be more likely to be fat, but that doesn’t mean games caused the fat. It could mean that fat people tend to play games. No one can say for sure.
It is true, though, that sitting on the couch all day playing games will make you fat, and games like Wii Fit are not really going to make anyone fit, so maybe video games reminding people to go ride their bikes once in awhile would be a good thing. What do you think? Does Nintendo have some obligation to tell the truth about fitness to people because its game says "Fit" right in the title?